7 Effective Tips for Running a Nonprofit


There are around 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S which show we’re a nation of philanthropists.

Whether you’re running a nonprofit to tackle homelessness or saving the giant panda, there are rules to follow so you generate enough funds for your cause. Perhaps you’re a newbie and are looking for tips to guide you through the process.

Sounds like you? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here are seven tips to help you run a nonprofit.

1. Have a Clear Vision

When you run a nonprofit, you must take the time to create an effective vision statement. This is where you showcase your organization’s strengths, values, and assets. You must also discuss your future goals and use evocative language to create a vivid image in your reader’s mind.

Your vision statement must also be purpose-driven so employees and stakeholders want to get involved.

2. Invest in Your Team

Employees are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations so create a nurturing environment. When your team feels valued then they’ll become determined to bring your vision statement to life. So invest in employees by offering regular training, flexible work hours, and incentives to boost motivation like having birthdays off.

3. Keep Financial Records

Running nonprofit businesses means you must keep corporate records, know the importance of audit services, and organize your finances so you stay on track.

Not sure where to start? Start by filing your articles of incorporation, charter, and proof of your taxes.

You must also record important decisions and board meetings so you’re nonprofit stay tax-exempt. To help you, hire a secretary to create and regularly update these records to avoid directors becoming personally liable for any errors.

When managing a nonprofit, you must also organize your finances and stick to IRS standards. So keep a double-entry bookkeeping system and detailed records of your profits along with filing your corporate tax return.

Nonprofits must pay income taxes on anything earned in “unrelated activities”. This is any venture that isn’t related to your organization’s mission statement.

4. Treat Donors as Customers

Not sure how to run a nonprofit?

First, build relationships with donors because they’re the key to your organization’s survival. Once you know your cause, show donors how you’ll achieve your vision and that you’re determined.

Always under-promise and over-deliver so your donors are satisfied with their investment. If any donors are unhappy, assist them as businesses do with customer service. When you do this, donors will likely forgive you, appreciate your proactiveness, and continue investing in your organization.

You must also maintain relationships with donors by creating a database to store their contact details. This means you can frequently send out newsletters, thank you notes, and invite them to events.

5. Create a Marketing Plan

Successful nonprofits create a strong marketing campaign so they can build a loyal fan base and further their reach. Your organization must have a well-designed website, social media presence, and an advertising strategy so prospects can learn about your organization’s vision.

Aside from raising awareness, you must also attract volunteers, financial supports, and those you’re trying to help. Invest in traditional advertising so you can reach like-minded organizations and government groups without breaking the bank. For instance, ask volunteers to hang flyers around the community or issue press releases about your organization’s successes.

6. Experiment With Different Fundraising Strategies

Although it’s tempting to create large events, diversify as you may not get the funds for it this year. So encourage your team to go door-to-door fundraising, commit to phone-a-thons, and mail brochures throughout their neighborhood.

A fun idea is donating a drink for your cause. Ask fundraisers to sacrifice their daily coffee and donate that money to your organization instead. Post evidence on your social media accounts to show how effective a small donation is and how it can positively impact your cause.

You can also create a video game fundraising event where participants sign up, create a fundraising page, play their favorite game for an extended period, and ask their loved ones to donate. To further your reach, consider live streaming the event where viewers can donate in real-time.

If you’re after a traditional fundraising idea, consider hosting a 5K run race to raise extra cash for your cause. Or host a fundraising art show, a rollerblade race, or a dance marathon to get people involved.

7. Measure Your Performance

When you’re running a nonprofit, focus on certain metrics like the number of donors on your database and grant revenues compared to previous years. But measuring your performance will vary between organizations. For instance, if your goal is to feed the homeless then your success is determined by how many people you feed.

Regardless of the metrics, you must constantly track and analyze your successes or downfalls. You can then pinpoint any areas where you’re overspending or overlooking. It’s also important to track your marketing campaign’s performance to ensure you’re reaching your target audience, engaging followers, and being noticed by prospect donors or volunteers.

Those Are Our Tips for Running a Nonprofit

Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know everything about running a nonprofit.

You must begin with a clear vision of your organization’s goals, a robust marketing campaign, and a motivated team. Make sure you’re constantly monitoring your performance, keeping track of corporate records, and brainstorming creative fundraising ideas to get everyone involved in your cause. Good luck!

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